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    Xinzheng LU, Hong GUAN, Hailin SUN, Yi LI, Zhe ZHENG, Yifan FEI, Zhi YANG, Lingxiao ZUO
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1097-1110.

    On June 24, 2021, a 40-year-old reinforced concrete flat plate structure building in Miami suffered a sudden partial collapse. This study analyzed the overall performance and key components of the collapsed building based on the building design codes (ACI-318 and GB 50010). Punching shear and post-punching performances of typical slab-column joints are also studied through the refined finite element analysis. The collapse process was simulated and visualized using a physics engine. By way of these analyses, weak design points of the collapsed building are highlighted. The differences between the reinforcement detailing of the collapsed building and the requirements of the current Chinese code are discussed, together with a comparison of the punching shear and post-punching performances. The simulated collapse procedure and debris distribution are compared with the actual collapse scenes.

    Jiaolong ZHANG, Eva BINDER, Hui WANG, Mehdi AMINBAGHAI, Bernhard LA PICHLER, Yong YUAN, Herbert A MANG
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2022, 16(1): 1-23.

    This review of the added value of multi-scale modeling of concrete is based on three representative examples. The first one is concerned with the analysis of experimental data, taken from four high-dynamic tests. The structural nature of the high-dynamic strength increase can be explained by using a multi-scale model. It accounts for the microstructure of the specimens. The second example refers to multi-scale thermoelastic analysis of concrete pavements, subjected to solar heating. A sensitivity analysis with respect to the internal relative humidity (RH) of concrete has underlined the great importance of the RH for an assessment of the risk of microcracking of concrete. The third example deals with multi-scale structural analysis of a real-scale test of a segmental tunnel ring. It has turned out that multi-scale modeling of concrete enables more reliable predictions of crack opening displacements in tunnel segments than macroscopic models taken from codes of practice. Overall, it is concluded that multi-scale models have indeed a significant added value. However, its degree varies with these examples. In any case, it can be assessed by means of a comparison of the results from three sources, namely, multi-scale structural analysis, conventional structural analysis, and experiments.

    Hanjiang LAI, Shifan WU, Mingjuan CUI, Jian CHU
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1073-1096.

    Microbial geotechnology or biogeotechnology is a new branch of geotechnical engineering. It involves the use of microbiology for traditional geotechnical applications. Many new innovative soil improvement methods have been developed in recent years based on this approach. A proper understanding of the various approaches and the performances of different methods can help researchers and engineers to develop the most appropriate geotechnical solutions. At present, most of the methods can be categorized into three major types, biocementation, bioclogging, and biogas desaturation. Similarities and differences of different approaches and their potential applications are reviewed. Factors affecting the different processes are also discussed. Examples of up-scaled model tests and pilot trials are presented to show the emerging applications. The challenges and problems of biogeotechnology are also discussed.

    Wenrui HUANG, Kai YIN, Mahyar GHORBANZADEH, Eren OZGUVEN, Sudong XU, Linoj VIJAYAN
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1301-1316.

    An integrated storm surge modeling and traffic analysis were conducted in this study to assess the effectiveness of hurricane evacuations through a case study of Hurricane Irma. The Category 5 hurricane in 2017 caused a record evacuation with an estimated 6.8 million people relocating statewide in Florida. The Advanced Circulation (ADCIRC) model was applied to simulate storm tides during the hurricane event. Model validations indicated that simulated pressures, winds, and storm surge compared well with observations. Model simulated storm tides and winds were used to estimate the area affected by Hurricane Irma. Results showed that the storm surge and strong wind mainly affected coastal counties in south-west Florida. Only moderate storm tides (maximum about 2.5 m) and maximum wind speed about 115 mph were shown in both model simulations and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) post-hurricane assessment near the area of hurricane landfall. Storm surges did not rise to the 100-year flood elevation level. The maximum wind was much below the design wind speed of 150–170 mph (Category 5) as defined in Florida Building Code (FBC) for south Florida coastal areas. Compared with the total population of about 2.25 million in the six coastal counties affected by storm surge and Category 1–3 wind, the statewide evacuation of approximately 6.8 million people was found to be an over-evacuation due mainly to the uncertainty of hurricane path, which shifted from south-east to south-west Florida. The uncertainty of hurricane tracks made it difficult to predict the appropriate storm surge inundation zone for evacuation. Traffic data were used to analyze the evacuation traffic patterns. In south-east Florida, evacuation traffic started 4 days before the hurricane’s arrival. However, the hurricane path shifted and eventually landed in south-west Florida, which caused a high level of evacuation traffic in south-west Florida. Over-evacuation caused Evacuation Traffic Index (ETI) to increase to 200% above normal conditions in some sections of highways, which reduced the effectiveness of evacuation. Results from this study show that evacuation efficiency can be improved in the future by more accurate hurricane forecasting, better public awareness of real-time storm surge and wind as well as integrated storm surge and evacuation modeling for quick response to the uncertainty of hurricane forecasting.

    Shubham SINGHAL, Ajay CHOURASIA, Soraj Kumar PANIGRAHI, Yogesh KAJALE
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1128-1143.

    This paper provides insight into the seismic behavior of a full-scale precast reinforced concrete wall under in-plane cyclic loading combined with out-of-plane loading replicated by sand backfill to simulate the actual condition of basement walls. The tested wall exhibited flexural cracks, owing to the high aspect ratio and considerable out-of-plane movement due to lateral pressure from the backfill. The wall performed satisfactorily by exhibiting competent seismic parameters and deformation characteristics governed by its ductile response in the nonlinear phase during the test with smaller residual drift. Numerical analysis was conducted to validate experimental findings, which complied with each other. The numerical model was used to conduct parametric studies to study the effect of backfill density and aspect ratio on seismic response of the proposed precast wall system. The in-plane capacity of walls reduced, while deformation characteristics were unaffected by the increase in backfill density. An increase in aspect ratio leads to a reduction in in-plane capacity and an increase in drift. Curves between the ratio of in-plane yield capacity and design shear load of walls are proposed for the backfill density, which may be adopted to determine the in-plane yield capacity of the basement walls based on their design shear.

    Xing MING, John C. HUANG, Zongjin LI
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2022, 16(1): 24-44.

    Design is a goal-oriented planning activity for creating products, processes, and systems with desired functions through specifications. It is a decision-making exploration: the design outcome may vary greatly depending on the designer’s knowledge and philosophy. Integrated design is one type of design philosophy that takes an interdisciplinary and holistic approach. In civil engineering, structural design is such an activity for creating buildings and infrastructures. Recently, structural design in many countries has emphasized a performance-based philosophy that simultaneously considers a structure’s safety, durability, serviceability, and sustainability. Consequently, integrated design in civil engineering has become more popular, useful, and important. Material-oriented integrated design and construction of structures (MIDCS) combine materials engineering and structural engineering in the design stage: it fully utilizes the strengths of materials by selecting the most suitable structural forms and construction methodologies. This paper will explore real-world examples of MIDCS, including the realization of MIDCS in timber seismic-resistant structures, masonry arch structures, long-span steel bridges, prefabricated/on-site extruded light-weight steel structures, fiber-reinforced cementitious composites structures, and fiber-reinforced polymer bridge decks. Additionally, advanced material design methods such as bioinspired design and structure construction technology of additive manufacturing are briefly reviewed and discussed to demonstrate how MIDCS can combine materials and structures. A unified strength-durability design theory is also introduced, which is a human-centric, interdisciplinary, and holistic approach to the description and development of any civil infrastructure and includes all processes directly involved in the life cycle of the infrastructure. Finally, this paper lays out future research directions for further development in the field.

    Meng ZHOU, Jiaji WANG, Jianguo NIE, Qingrui YUE
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1317-1336.

    Tension stress in steel-concrete composite is widely observed in engineering design. Based on an experimental program on tension performance of three square concrete-filled tubes (SCFT), the tension theory of SCFT is proposed using a mechanics-based approach. The tension stiffening effect, the confining strengthening effect and the confining stiffening effect, observed in tests of SCFTs are included in the developed tension theory model. Subsequently, simplified constitutive models of steel and concrete are proposed for the axial tension performance of SCFT. Based on the MSC.MARC software, a special fiber beam-column element is proposed to include the confining effect of SCFTs under tension and verified. The proposed analytical theory, effective formulas, and equivalent constitutive laws are extensively verified against three available tests reported in the literature on both global level (e.g., load-displacement curves) and strain level. The experimental verification proves the accuracy of the proposed theory and formulations in simulating the performance of SCFT members under tension with the capability to accurately predict the tensile strength and stiffness enhancements and realistically simulate the fractal cracking phenomenon.

    Dongliang Hu, Xingyu Gu, Bingyan Cui
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1261-1276.

    To reveal the potential influence of styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) polymer modification on the anti-aging performance of asphalt, and its mechanism, we explored the aging characteristics of base asphalt and SBS-modified asphalt by reaction force field (ReaxFF) and classical molecular dynamics simulations. The results illustrate that the SBS asphalt is more susceptible to oxidative aging than the base asphalt under oxygen-deficient conditions due to the presence of unsaturated C=C bonds in the SBS polymer. In the case of sufficient oxygen, the SBS polymer inhibits the oxidation of asphalt by restraining the diffusion of asphalt molecules. Compared with the base asphalt, the SBS asphalt exhibits a higher degree of oxidation at the early stage of pavement service and a lower degree of oxidation in the long run. In addition, SBS polymer degrades into small blocks during aging, thus counteracting the hardening of aged asphalt and partially restoring its low-temperature cracking resistance.

    Tarek Uddin MOHAMMED, Aziz Hasan MAHMOOD, Mohammad Zunaied-Bin-HARUN, Jamil Ahmed JOY, Md. Asif AHMED
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1400-1414.

    Aggregates are the biggest contributor to concrete volume and are a crucial parameter in dictating its mechanical properties. As such, a detailed experimental investigation was carried out to evaluate the effect of sand-to-aggregate volume ratio (s/a) on the mechanical properties of concrete utilizing both destructive and non-destructive testing (employing UPV (ultrasonic pulse velocity) measurements). For investigation, standard cylindrical concrete samples were made with different s/a (0.36, 0.40, 0.44, 0.48, 0.52, and 0.56), cement content (340 and 450 kg/m3), water-to-cement ratio (0.45 and 0.50), and maximum aggregate size (12 and 19 mm). The effect of these design parameters on the 7, 14, and 28 d compressive strength, tensile strength, elastic modulus, and UPV of concrete were assessed. The careful analysis demonstrates that aggregate proportions and size need to be optimized for formulating mix designs; optimum ratios of s/a were found to be 0.40 and 0.44 for the maximum aggregate size of 12 and 19 mm, respectively, irrespective of the W/C (water-to-cement) and cement content.

    Wei DU, Xiaohua ZHAO, Huiming HOU, Zhen WANG
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2022, 16(1): 75-85.

    An efficient and meshfree approach is proposed for the bending analysis of thin plates. The approach is based on the choice of a set of interior points, for each of which a basis function can be defined. Plate deflection is then approximated as the linear combination of those basis functions. Unlike traditional meshless methods, present basis functions are defined in the whole domain and satisfy the governing differential equation for plate. Therefore, no domain integration is needed, while the unknown coefficients of deflection expression could be determined through boundary conditions by using a collocation point method. Both efficiency and accuracy of the approach are shown through numerical results of plates with arbitrary shapes and boundary conditions under various loads.

    Chien Ming WANG, Mengmeng HAN, Junwei LYU, Wenhui DUAN, Kwanghoe JUNG
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1111-1127.

    A novel floating breakwater-windbreak structure (floating forest) has been designed for the protection of vulnerable coastal areas from extreme wind and wave loadings during storm conditions. The modular arch-shaped concrete structure is positioned perpendicularly to the direction of the prevailing wave and wind. The structure below the water surface acts as a porous breakwater with wave scattering capability. An array of tubular columns on the sloping deck of the breakwater act as an artificial forest-type windbreak. A feasibility study involving hydrodynamic and aerodynamic analyses has been performed, focusing on its capability in reducing wave heights and wind speeds in the lee side. The study shows that the proposed 1 km long floating forest is able to shelter a lee area that stretches up to 600 m, with 40%–60% wave energy reduction and 10%–80% peak wind speed reduction.

    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2022, 16(1): 86-98.

    One of the strategic materials used in earth-fill embankment dams and in modifying and preventing groundwater flow is plastic concrete (PlC). PlC is comprised of aggregates, water, cement, and bentonite. Natural zeolite (NZ) is a relatively abundant mineral resource and in this research, the microstructure, unconfined strength, triaxial behavior, and permeability of PlC made with 0%, 10%, 15%, 20%, and 25% replacement of cement by NZ were studied. Specimens of PIC-NZ were subjected to confined conditions and three different confining pressures of 200, 350, and 500 kPa were used to investigate their mechanical behavior and permeability. To study the effect of sulfate ions on the properties of PlC-NZ specimens, the specimens were cured in one of two different environments: normal condition and in the presence of sulfate ions. Results showed that increasing the zeolite content decreases the unconfined strength, elastic modulus, and peak strength of PlC-NZ specimens at the early ages of curing. However, at the later ages, increasing the zeolite content increases unconfined strength as well as the peak strength and elastic modulus. Specimens cured in the presence of sulfate ions indicated lower permeability, higher unconfined strength, elastic modulus, and peak strength due to having lower porosity.

    Shuai TENG, Gongfa CHEN, Shaodi WANG, Jiqiao ZHANG, Xiaoli SUN
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2022, 16(1): 45-56.

    This paper presents a new approach for automatical classification of structural state through deep learning. In this work, a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) was designed to fuse both the feature extraction and classification blocks into an intelligent and compact learning system and detect the structural state of a steel frame; the input was a series of vibration signals, and the output was a structural state. The digital image correlation (DIC) technology was utilized to collect vibration information of an actual steel frame, and subsequently, the raw signals, without further pre-processing, were directly utilized as the CNN samples. The results show that CNN can achieve 99% classification accuracy for the research model. Besides, compared with the backpropagation neural network (BPNN), the CNN had an accuracy similar to that of the BPNN, but it only consumes 19% of the training time. The outputs of the convolution and pooling layers were visually displayed and discussed as well. It is demonstrated that: 1) the CNN can extract the structural state information from the vibration signals and classify them; 2) the detection and computational performance of the CNN for the incomplete data are better than that of the BPNN; 3) the CNN has better anti-noise ability.

    Luthfi Muhammad MAULUDIN, Timon RABCZUK
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1337-1346.

    We present a three-dimensional (3D) numerical model to investigate complex fracture behavior using cohesive elements. An efficient packing algorithm is employed to create the mesoscale model of heterogeneous capsule-based self-healing concrete. Spherical aggregates are used and directly generated from specified size distributions with different volume fractions. Spherical capsules are also used and created based on a particular diameter, and wall thickness. Bilinear traction-separation laws of cohesive elements along the boundaries of the mortar matrix, aggregates, capsules, and their interfaces are pre-inserted to simulate crack initiation and propagation. These pre-inserted cohesive elements are also applied into the initial meshes of solid elements to account for fracture in the mortar matrix. Different realizations are carried out and statistically analyzed. The proposed model provides an effective tool for predicting the complex fracture response of capsule-based self-healing concrete at the meso-scale.

    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1453-1479.

    This paper proposes a new Deep Feed-forward Neural Network (DFNN) approach for damage detection in functionally graded carbon nanotube-reinforced composite (FG-CNTRC) plates. In the proposed approach, the DFNN model is developed based on a data set containing 20 000 samples of damage scenarios, obtained via finite element (FE) simulation, of the FG-CNTRC plates. The elemental modal kinetic energy (MKE) values, calculated from natural frequencies and translational nodal displacements of the structures, are utilized as input of the DFNN model while the damage locations and corresponding severities are considered as output. The state-of-the art Exponential Linear Units (ELU) activation function and the Adamax algorithm are employed to train the DFNN model. Additionally, in order to enhance the performance of the DFNN model, the mini-batch and early-stopping techniques are applied to the training process. A trial-and-error procedure is implemented to determine suitable parameters of the network such as the number of hidden layers and the number of neurons in each layer. The accuracy and capability of the proposed DFNN model are illustrated through two distinct configurations of the CNT-fibers constituting the FG-CNTRC plates including uniform distribution (UD) and functionally graded-V distribution (FG-VD). Furthermore, the performance and stability of the DFNN model with the consideration of noise effects on the input data are also investigated. Obtained results indicate that the proposed DFNN model is able to give sufficiently accurate damage detection outcomes for the FG-CNTRC plates for both cases of noise-free and noise-influenced data.

    Li JIA, Zhi FANG, Maurizio GUADAGNINI, Kypros PILAKOUTAS, Zhengmeng HUANG
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1426-1440.

    The ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) and fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) are well-accepted high-performance materials in the field of civil engineering. The combination of these advanced materials could contribute to improvement of structural performance and corrosion resistance. Unfortunately, only limited studies are available for shear behavior of UHPC beams reinforced with FRP bars, and few suggestions exist for prediction methods for shear capacity. This paper presents an experimental investigation on the shear behavior of UHPC beams reinforced with glass FRP (GFRP) and prestressed with external carbon FRP (CFRP) tendons. The failure mode of all specimens with various shear span to depth ratios from 1.7 to 4.5 was diagonal tension failure. The shear span to depth ratio had a significant influence on the shear capacity, and the effective prestressing stress affected the crack propagation. The experimental results were then applied to evaluate the equations given in different codes/recommendations for FRP-reinforced concrete structures or UHPC structures. The comparison results indicate that NF P 18-710 and JSCE CES82 could appropriately estimate shear capacity of the slender specimens with a shear span to depth ratio of 4.5. Further, a new shear design equation was proposed to take into account the effect of the shear span to depth ratio and the steel fiber content on shear capacity.

    Gebrail BEKDAŞ, Melda YÜCEL, Sinan Melih NIGDELI
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1441-1452.

    Three different structural engineering designs were investigated to determine optimum design variables, and then to estimate design parameters and the main objective function of designs directly, speedily, and effectively. Two different optimization operations were carried out: One used the harmony search (HS) algorithm, combining different ranges of both HS parameters and iteration with population numbers. The other used an estimation application that was done via artificial neural networks (ANN) to find out the estimated values of parameters. To explore the estimation success of ANN models, different test cases were proposed for the three structural designs. Outcomes of the study suggest that ANN estimation for structures is an effective, successful, and speedy tool to forecast and determine the real optimum results for any design model.

    Hongyuan TANG, Ruizhong LIU, Xin ZHAO, Rui GUO, Yigang JIA
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1144-1159.

    The mechanical properties of CFRP-confined rectangular concrete-filled stainless steel tube (CFSST) stub columns under axial compression were experimentally studied. A total of 28 specimens (7 groups) were fabricated for the axial compression test to study the influences of length-to-width ratio, CFRP constraint coefficient, and the thickness of stainless steel tube on the axial compression behavior. The specimen failure modes, the stress development of stainless steel tube and CFRP wrap, and the load–strain ratio curves in the loading process were obtained. Meanwhile, the relationship between axial and transverse deformations of each specimen was analyzed through the typical relative load−strain ratio curves. A bearing capacity prediction method was proposed based on the twin-shear strength theory, combining the limit equilibrium state of the CFRP-confined CFSST stub column under axial compression. The prediction method was calibrated by the test data in this study and other literature. The results show that the prediction method is of high accuracy.

    Serdar CARBAS, Musa ARTAR
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2022, 16(1): 57-74.

    Steel dome structures, with their striking structural forms, take a place among the impressive and aesthetic load bearing systems featuring large internal spaces without internal columns. In this paper, the seismic design optimization of spatial steel dome structures is achieved through three recent metaheuristic algorithms that are water strider (WS), grey wolf (GW), and brain storm optimization (BSO). The structural elements of the domes are treated as design variables collected in member groups. The structural stress and stability limitations are enforced by ASD-AISC provisions. Also, the displacement restrictions are considered in design procedure. The metaheuristic algorithms are encoded in MATLAB interacting with SAP2000 for gathering structural reactions through open application programming interface (OAPI). The optimum spatial steel dome designs achieved by proposed WS, GW, and BSO algorithms are compared with respect to solution accuracy, convergence rates, and reliability, utilizing three real-size design examples for considering both the previously reported optimum design results obtained by classical metaheuristic algorithms and a gradient descent-based hyperband optimization (HBO) algorithm.

    Xia QIN, Mingzhe LIANG, Xiaoli XIE, Huilan SONG
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1160-1180.

    A new type of suspension bridge is proposed based on the gravity stiffness principle. Compared with a conventional suspension bridge, the proposed bridge adds rigid webs and cross braces. The rigid webs connect the main cable and main girder to form a truss that can improve the bending stiffness of the bridge. The cross braces connect the main cables to form a closed space truss structure that can improve the torsional stiffness of the bridge. The rigid webs and cross braces are installed after the construction of a conventional suspension bridge is completed to resist different loads with different structural forms. A new type of railway suspension bridge with a span of 340 m and a highway suspension bridge with a span of 1020 m were designed and analysed using the finite element method. The stress, deflection of the girders, unbalanced forces of the main towers, and natural frequencies were compared with those of conventional suspension bridges. A stiffness test was carried out on the new type of suspension bridge with a small span, and the results were compared with those for a conventional bridge. The results showed that the new suspension bridge had a better performance than the conventional suspension bridge.

    Bo DA, Yan CHEN, Hongfa YU, Haiyan MA, Bo YU, Da CHEN, Xiao CHEN, Zhangyu WU, Jianbo GUO
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1415-1425.

    To study the behavior of coral aggregate concrete (CAC) column under axial and eccentric compression, the compression behavior of CAC column with different types of steel and initial eccentricity (ei) were tested, and the deformation behavior and ultimate bearing capacity (Nu) were studied. The results showed that as the ei increases, the Nu of CAC column decreases nonlinearly. Besides, the steel corrosion in CAC column is severe, which reduces the steel section and steel strength, and decreases the Nu of CAC column. The durability of CAC structures can be improved by using new organic coated steel. Considering the influence of steel corrosion and interfacial bond deterioration, the calculation models of Nu under axial and eccentric compression were presented.

    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1277-1291.

    In this paper, the effect of usage of the permeability reducing admixture (PRA) having different action mechanisms on hardened state properties of cementitious systems containing mineral additives is examined. For this aim, three commercial PRAs were used during investigation. The effective parameters in the first and third PRAs were air-entraining and high-rate air-entraining, respectively. The second one contained the insoluble calcium carbonate residue and had a small amount of the air-entraining property. Mortar mixes with binary and ternary cementitious systems were prepared by partially replacing cement with fly ash and metakaolin. The hardened state properties of mortar mixtures such as compressive strength, ultrasonic pulse velocity, water absorption, drying shrinkage and freeze–thaw resistance were investigated. The ternary cement-based mixture having both fly ash and metakaolin was selected as the most successful mineral-additive bearing mix in regard to hardened state properties. In this sense, PRA-B, with both insoluble residues and a small amount of air-entraining properties, showed the best performance among the mixtures containing PRA. The combined use of mineral additive and PRA had a more positive effect on the properties of the mixes.

    Guangping HUANG, Deepak PUDASAINEE, Rajender GUPTA, Wei Victor LIU
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1249-1260.

    This study extended blending proportion range of ordinary Portland cement (OPC) and calcium sulfoaluminate (CSA) cement blends, and investigated effects of proportions on setting time, workability, and strength development of OPC-CSA blend-based mixtures. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were conducted to help understand the performance of OPC-CSA blend-based mixtures. The setting time of the OPC-CSA blends was extended, and the workability was improved with increase of OPC content. Although the early-age strength decreased with increase of OPC content, the strength development was still very fast when the OPC content was lower than 60% due to the rapid formation and accumulation of ettringite. At 2 h, the OPC-CSA blend-based mortars with OPC contents of 0%, 20%, 40%, and 60% achieved the unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of 17.5, 13.9, 9.6, and 5.0 MPa, respectively. The OPC content had a negligible influence on long-term strength. At 90 d, the average UCS of the OPC-CSA blend-based mortars was 39.2 ± 1.7 MPa.

    Rui NEVES
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1504-1506.

    A methodology to compute the CO2 uptake of recycled aggregate concrete is proposed in the commented paper. Besides some typos in several formulas, it is found that the approach to estimate the specific surface area of the recycled aggregates is not correct. This issue has some impact in the conclusions of the commented paper. Therefore, aiming to improve the understanding, accuracy and findings of the commented paper, an alternative approach to estimate the specific surface area of the recycled aggregates, as well as an erratum of the formulas and revised conclusions are suggested.

    Mohammad R. IRSHIDAT, Rami S. AL-HUSBAN
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2022, 16(1): 131-143.

    This paper studied the effect of incorporation of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) on strengthening of reinforced concrete (RC) beams. The RC beams were prepared, strengthened in flexure by externally bonded CFRP or CNTs-modified CFRP sheets, and tested under four-point loading. The experimental results showed the ability of the CNTs to delay the initiation of the cracks and to enhance the flexural capacity of the beams strengthened with CFRP. A nonlinear finite element (FE) model was built, validated, and used to study the effect of various parameters on the strengthening efficiency of CNTs-modified CFRP. The studied parameters included concrete strength, flexural reinforcement ratio, and CFRP sheet configuration. The numerical results showed that utilization of CNTs in CFRP production improved the flexural capacity of the strengthened beams for U-shape and underside-strip configurations. The enhancement was more pronounced in the case of U-shape than in the case of use of sheet strip covers on the underside of the beam. In case of using underside-strip, the longer or the wider the sheet, the higher was the flexural capacity of the beams. The flexural enhancement of RC beams by strengthening with CNTs-modified CFRP decreased with increasing the rebar diameter and was not affected by concrete strength.

    Qinghai XIE, Jianzhuang XIAO, Kaijian ZHANG, Zhongling ZONG
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1347-1357.

    Noncorrosive reinforcement materials facilitate producing structural concrete with seawater and sea sand. This study investigated the properties of seawater and sea sand concrete (SSC), considering the curing age (3, 7, 14, 21, 28, 60, and 150 d) and strength grade (C30, C40, and C60). The compressive behavior of SSC was obtained by compressive tests and digital image correction (DIC) technique. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) methods were applied to understand the microstructure and hydration products of cement in SSC. Results revealed a 30% decrease in compressive strength for C30 and C40 SSC from 60 to 150 d, and a less than 5% decrease for C60 from 28 to 150 d. DIC results revealed significant cracking and crushing from 80% to 100% of compressive strength. SEM images showed a more compact microstructure in higher strength SSC. XRD patterns identified Friedel’s salt phase due to the chlorides brought by seawater and sea sand. The findings in this study can provide more insights into the microstructure of SSC along with its short- and long-term compressive behavior.

    Hamid GHASEMI
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1292-1299.

    Liquid droplets in solid soft composites have been attracting increasing attention in biological applications. In contrary with conventional composites, which are made of solid elastic inclusions, available material models for composites including liquid droplets are for highly idealized configurations and do not include all material real parameters. They are also all deterministic and do not address the uncertainties arising from droplet radius, volume fraction, dispersion and agglomeration. This research revisits the available models for liquid droplets in solid soft composites and presents a multiscale computational material model to determine their elastic moduli, considering nearly all relevant uncertainties and heterogeneities at different length scales. The effects of surface tension at droplets interface, their volume fraction, size, size polydispersity and agglomeration on elastic modulus, are considered. Different micromechanical material models are incorporated into the presented computational framework. The results clearly indicate both softening and stiffening effects of liquid droplets and show that the model can precisely predict the effective properties of liquid droplets in solid soft composites.

    Swetapadma PANDA, Nikhil P. ZADE, Pradip SARKAR, Robin DAVIS
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2022, 16(1): 117-130.

    Proven research output on the behavior of structures made of waste copper slag concrete can improve its utilization in the construction industry and thereby help to develop a sustainable built environment. Although numerous studies on waste copper slag concrete can be found in the published literature, no research has focused on the structural application of this type of concrete. In particular, the variability in the strength properties of waste copper slag concrete, which is required for various structural applications, such as limit state design formulation, reliability-based structural analysis, etc., has so far not attracted the attention of researchers. This paper quantifies the uncertainty associated with the compressive-, flexural- and split tensile strength of hardened concrete with different dosages of waste copper slag as fine aggregate. Best-fit probability distribution models are proposed based on statistical analyses of strength data generated from laboratory experiments. In addition, the paper presents a reliability-based seismic risk assessment of a typical waste copper slag incorporated reinforced concrete framed building, considering the proposed distribution model. The results show that waste copper slag can be safely used for seismic resistant structures as it results in an identical probability of failure and dispersion in the drift demand when compared with a conventional concrete building made of natural sand.

    Jithin P ZACHARIAH, Ravi S JAKKA
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 1199-1208.

    Site-specific seismic hazard analysis is crucial for designing earthquake resistance structures, particularly in seismically active regions. Shear wave velocity ( V S) is a key parameter in such analysis, although the economy and other factors restrict its direct field measurement in many cases. Various V S–SPT– N correlations are routinely incorporated in seismic hazard analysis to estimate the value of V S. However, many uncertainties question the reliability of these estimated V S values. This paper comes up with a statistical approach to take care of such uncertainties involved in V S calculations. The measured SPT– N values from all the critical boreholes were converted into statistical parameters and passed through various correlations to estimate V S at different depths. The effect of different soil layers in the boreholes on the Vs estimation was also taken into account. Further, the average shear wave velocity of the top 30 m soil cover ( V S30) is estimated after accounting for various epistemic and aleatoric uncertainties. The scattering nature of the V S values estimated using different V SN correlations was reduced significantly with the application of the methodology. Study results further clearly demonstrated the potential of the approach to eliminate various uncertainties involved in the estimation of V S30 using general and soil-specific correlations.

    Zhengqiang ZENG, Shengzhi WU, Cheng LYU
    Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 1480-1493.

    In waterfront geotechnical engineering, seismic and drainage conditions must be considered in the design of retaining structures. This paper proposes a general analytical method to evaluate the seismic active earth pressure on a retaining wall with backfill subjected to partial steady seepage flow under seismic conditions. The method comprises the following steps: i) determination of the total head, ii) upper bound solution of seismic active earth thrust, and iii) deduction for the earth pressure distribution. The determination of total head h(x,z) relies on the Fourier series expansions, and the expressions of the seismic active earth thrust and pressure are derived by using the upper bound theorem. Parametric studies reveal that insufficient drainage and earthquakes are crucial factors that cause unfavorable earth pressure. The numerical results confirm the validity of the total head distribution. Comparisons indicate that the proposed method is consistent with other relevant existing methods in terms of predicting seismic active earth pressure. The method can be applied to the seismic design of waterfront retaining walls.